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UFC Atlantic City: Blanchfield vs Fiorot - Mar 30 🇺🇸


wandshogun09

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Posted (edited)

A Fight Night that’s not at the Apex? We’re off to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sopranos territory!

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ESPN MAIN CARD
Erin Blanchfield vs Manon Fiorot 

Vicente Luque vs Joaquin Buckley 

Chris Weidman vs Bruno Silva

Nursulton Ruziboev vs Sedriques Dumas 

Bill Algeo vs Kyle Nelson 

Chidi Njokuani vs Rhys McKee 

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS PRELIMS 
Nate Landwehr vs Jamall Emmers 

Virna Jandiroba vs Loopy Godinez 

Julio Arce vs Herbert Burns 

Connor Matthews vs Dennis Buzukja 

Ibo Aslan vs Anton Turkalj  

Andre Petroski vs Jacob Malkoun 

Angel Pacheco vs Caolan Loughran 

 

I quite like this. It’s not as strong a card as some of the non-Apex Fight Nights we’ve had but there are some good fights on there, plenty of talking points and the main event should decide a number one contender. Being in front of a proper crowd always adds to the experience and with Blanchfield being from New Jersey and a few NY/NJ and North East fighters scattered throughout the card, the crowd should be well into it. That always helps.

 

 

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Erin Blanchfield vs Manon Fiorot headlines. I quite like it. Not expecting a FOTY candidate or anything but it’s a solid fight between two rising contenders in the Flyweight division and it’s almost certainly gonna end up being a title eliminator. Once everything shakes out with this upcoming TUF season and Grasso vs Shevchenko 3 is in the books, the winner of this fight is gonna be pretty undeniable as the next in line. Blanchfield is currently ranked #2 in the division, Fiorot is at #3. Literally the only names above them are the champ Grasso and her next opponent Shevchenko. So we’ve got a little mini four woman tournament on our hands here.

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This is a huge moment for the hometown girl. New Jersey’s own Erin Blanchfield is just 24 years old and still relatively early in her career, she’s just one win away from a title shot and here she is headlining a card in her own backyard.

“I have a lot of family in the city. Fighting in my home state, I mean, I was raised here, I went to school here, trained here my entire life in Jersey. So I think being a main event in Atlantic City would be so awesome. I feel like I’d bring a crowd too. Everyone I know lives here, everyone I train with. So that would be super special. It would be something to remember.”

“Manon Fiorot, I feel like she’s the only other girl that people think deserves a title shot too. I feel like me and her have been neck-and-neck, winning fights. I’m really excited to go prove myself as the next title contender. Fighting five rounds, I feel like that fits my style really well and, prepping myself for a title fight, I think going five rounds is gonna be super beneficial.”

“I feel confident that I’ve done enough. I have competed against people at a high level. I feel like I’ve beaten higher level fighters than Manon has and I’ve kinda stated my case. If I have to beat up Manon to get that title, I’ll do that too.” - Erin Blanchfield

She’s 12-1 in MMA now with the only blemish being a split decision loss to Tracy Cortez on an Invicta card back in February 2019. But Blanchfield would’ve only been 19 years old at that time and it was her 4th pro fight. She hasn’t put a foot wrong since and has put together a 9 fight winning streak. Her last 3 fights especially have raised her stock. The submission over Molly McCann was whatever as an actual win but it ended that little bullshit hype train the Meatball was building at the time and it was on a big card at MSG so it was the fight that got Blanchfield on a lot of people’s radars. She followed that up with a submission win over Jessica Andrade and a points win over Taila Santos. If it wasn’t for the fact Grasso vs Shev 2 ended in a draw, Blanchfield probably would’ve already been gearing up to challenge Grasso now. I think it’s one of those situations that’s probably worked out for the best though. The more experience and cage time she gets before the title shot, the better her chances.

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France’s Fiorot has a similar record but she’s a decade older. She’s 11-1 and also only has one loss by split decision. Hers came in her pro debut in 2018 against Leah McCourt on a Cage Warriors show. She’s been winning ever since. She made her UFC debut in 2021 and has gone 6-0 in the Octagon. But her only 2 finishes were against Victoria Leonardo (who’s shite) and Tabatha Ricci (who was comically outsized). Since then she’s taken decisions off Mayra Bueno Silva, Jennifer Maia, Katlyn Chookagian and in her last fight she scored the biggest win of her career to date over Rose Namajunas. That should’ve felt bigger than it did really. A win over a former UFC champion, and on home turf in Paris, yet it fell a bit flat. It’s kind of been the story of Fiorot’s UFC run so far for me. She looks so strong and imposing in there but the performances never seem to match how she looks. That win over Rose in France should’ve been her big coming out party but it was all a bit underwhelming.

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Here we are then. Not sure how this goes. I don’t think Blanchfield has reached her potential yet. There’s clearly still improvements to make and I think her best performances are yet to come. And it’s hard to really gauge Fiorot because I don’t feel like she’s been properly pushed in a fight in the UFC yet so I don’t know if it’s just that she hasn’t really got out of second gear yet or if what we’ve seen is all she’s got. They’ve got about the same experience in MMA but youth is on Blanchfield’s side. And of course, Blanchfield will have the home crowd advantage. But she’s never gone 5 rounds. Fiorot has gone 5 rounds once early in her career when she won the EFC belt in South Africa. I’d like to see Blanchfield get the win here. I think she’s better to watch and, obviously at 24, there’s more upside and future there. And it’d be cool if she can win impressively and really make a statement in front of the home NJ crowd. Her against Grasso later in the year could be a lot of fun and it would feel like such a fresh fight after years of Shevchenko monopolising the Flyweight title picture. Obviously Grasso has to get past Shev again first though. And that’s the point, it’s actually really refreshing for the division to be in this situation. Doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago that Shev was on top and there seemed to be no end in sight and no interesting challengers for her. Now we’ve got a mini tournament and I’m really not sure who wins either fight.

 

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Vicente Luque vs Joaquin Buckley is a cracking co-main for a Fight Night. Could’ve easily seen this headlining a card itself. We’ve had a lot worse. With Luque being Brazilian, I didn’t even realise but he was actually born in New Jersey so you know whose side the crowd will be on here. Although, to be honest, it’d be hard to root against Luque anyway. In a sport with so many dickheads, he’s always seemed like one of the good eggs.

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Luque was actually supposed to fight Sean Brady on this card originally but Brady is out. He was also previously booked against Ian Garry at UFC 296 in December but Garry withdrew with pneumonia during fight week. Luque’s had no luck lately. Hopefully this fight goes ahead with no issues. He’s coming off a 5 round points win over Rafael Dos Anjos in August here. A strong win, maybe the best of his career. But I’m still uneasy about him fighting. That RDA win was his return fight after suffering a brain haemorrhage in his loss to Geoff Neal in 2022. I remember watching that RDA fight and wincing all the way through. Luque did fine but I had an uncomfortable feeling watching it. I know brain injuries are always a risk in combat sports so we can’t exactly take the moral high ground when we watch this shit for entertainment. But still, actually hearing the words ‘brain haemorrhage’ brings it home. I still don’t feel comfortable with this. Surely a bleed on the brain is instant retirement? But here we are.

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Joaquin Buckley is alright but he’s no great shakes really. He’ll always be remembered for that ridiculous all timer of a KO against Impa Kasanganay a few years back, the kind of inverted enziguri kick. One of the craziest knockouts ever and it was so unique and unlikely that I’d be surprised if we ever see it again. But aside from that, his best wins are Alex Morono, Andre Fialho, Abdul Razak Alhassan? When he’s stepped up a level against a Kevin Holland, Nassourdine Imavov or Chris Curtis he’s come unstuck. He had a decent 2023 though, with the Fialho and Morono wins. And the headkick KO on Fialho was Cro Cop-esque. Given both their styles this should be an exciting fight for however long it lasts but, yeah, Luque still fighting after that kind of brain injury doesn’t sit right at all.

 

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Chris Weidman vs Bruno Silva sounded like bad news from the second I saw it was announced. Just don’t see this ending well for Weidman at all. I hope I’m wrong but it’s looked like it’s over for a long time now. I think even Weidman’s finally coming around to the realisation that it’s time to call it a day as well now. Before his comeback fight in August he was talking about going on another run at the title and all sorts. Now he’s saying this might be his last fight.

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Remember this guy? Seems like an absolute lifetime ago now, doesn’t it? In 2013, Weidman was on top of the world. He was undefeated, he was the UFC Middleweight champion and he was the man who ended the legendary reign of Anderson Silva. A couple of years later it had all gone tits up. The beating from Rockhold in late 2015 kickstarted a downward spiral that Weidman’s never recovered from. He went from 13-0 at the start of his career to going 2-7 in his next 9 fights. The shitshow culminated with that horrible leg injury in 2021 against Uriah Hall. It took 2 years of recovery and rehab and when he finally returned from that injury in the summer last year, he was talking a big game. He then lost to Brad Tavares. It was rough to watch. Weidman didn’t get knocked out but in some ways it was worse than that. Ring rust might’ve played a part but Weidman just looked utterly shot to me. And you could tell he never had confidence in that leg. There was no explosion there and I don’t think he committed to one proper takedown attempt or even threw a kick with that leg. Whenever he wanted to kick, he’d switch southpaw. The injury was still clearly haunting him, which is understandable but doesn’t bode well for whatever’s left of his career. Like I said though, it sounds like Weidman’s finally accepting that it might be time to knock it on the head.

“This could be my last fight but I’m going to kind of make that decision throughout the training camp, see how I feel, if my body can handle a hard training camp again. It might be the last one, it might not be. I still think I’m top in the world but my body’s just taking a beating.”

“The reason why I took this fight pretty quickly is because it was offered and it was in Atlantic City. That’s where I started my career in Atlantic City. Because at the time, MMA wasn’t legal in New York. All the New York guys had to fight in Ring Of Combat in Atlantic City. I just think it would be pretty cool to go back there where it all started and see how I feel.” - Chris Weidman

Definitely sounds like he’s thinking of getting out, doesn’t it? Which is a massive turnaround from how he was talking before the comeback fight against Tavares last year. It would be fitting and a cool full circle thing if he ends his career where it started. And let’s face it, it’s been time for years. He was already in a horrible slump long before the leg injury. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to hang on for one more at MSG at the end of the year. The matchmaking here feels a bit cruel. Weidman came back off a long layoff and got beat up by Tavares. So the matchmakers then decide to match him up with Bruno Silva, who knocked out Tavares not long ago? I know MMA maths is mostly shite and styles make fights etc. But considering Dana was publicly and loudly calling for Weidman to retire after that loss to Tavares, to then give him arguably a more dangerous fight seems a bit off. Got a bad feeling Weidman’s getting chinned here. Not that Silva’s a world beater or anything but he’s heavy handed, aggressive and tough enough that he went the distance with Alex Pereira. He’s no contender but he’s no pushover and if Weidman comes in hesitant like he did last time, it’s gonna end badly.

 

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Nursulton Ruziboev vs Sedriques Dumas looks a bit out of place on the main card but whatever. I’m kind of invested in it just because Dumas seems a complete cunt and I’d love to see him get sparked. He’s 28 years old and 9-1 with 6 finishes. Doesn’t sound too bad, unless you’ve actually had the misfortune of watching him fight. He’s shite. He’s coming off a couple of decision wins over Cody Brundage (who’s even more awful) and Abu Azaitar (who was coming off a 2+ year layoff) and still failed to look impressive. He’s mostly made the news for other reasons though…

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I remember even before his UFC debut, stuff came out about his previous brushes with the law. I can’t recall exactly what the list of crimes were now but I know one of them was domestic violence. The mugshot above is as recent as February. He got arrested again on felony battery charges and even streamed footage of his confrontation with the police. Proper arsehole. On a lighter note but also one that shows how much of a twat he is, he was also reportedly demanding to be paid by the media for interviews before his debut. He hadn’t even set foot in the Octagon yet and already wanted payment for things even champions and legends don’t get 🤣 Yeah, I hope he gets flattened. And Ruziboev might be just the man for the job.

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That’s how his last fight ended. It was his UFC debut back in July and he obliterated Brunno Ferreira in just over a minute. He’s from Uzbekistan, 30 years old and has a record of 33-8-2-2 with 31 finishes! Granted a lot of his opposition was probably questionable but that’s a lot of fights and a lot of reps for a guy who’s not long turned 30. He’s currently on a 9 fight winning streak with all 9 finished inside the distance. Hopefully he continues that trend here and gets his 10th straight finish.

 

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Bill Algeo vs Kyle Nelson is a decent fight. Algeo’s been quite entertaining to watch from what I remember of him. His short notice UFC debut against Ricardo Lamas a few years ago was bags of fun. He’s 18-7 now and has had mixed results but he’s coming into this one off a couple of wins over TJ Brown and Alexander Hernandez. Nelson’s Canadian with a 15-5-1 record. He beat Fernando Padilla on that Mexican Independence Day card in September and took a decision off Blake Bilder before that. Nothing earth shattering but OK wins. Also just saw that his wife gave birth very recently so he’s got a lot to be motivated about coming into this fight.

 

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Chidi Njokuani vs Rhys McKee could be good. Chidi’s never gonna get a sniff of the title picture and is highly unlikely to ever be ranked but he’s been in some entertaining fights in the UFC in his relatively short stint. Seems a good guy too. He previously fought in Bellator and LFA and he got off to a positive start in the UFC. He scored a 16 second KO in his debut against Marc-Andre Barriault, then followed up with another first round stoppage against Dusko Todorovic. He’s gone 0-3 since though. His gruesome battle with Gregory Rodrigues is one I won’t forget anytime soon. Remember that shit? Chidi lost but he left our Greg with a scar to remember him by. Chidi’s last fight against Michal Oleksiejczuk was a wild back and forth one round shootout as well. The only fight of Chidi’s that’s been shit in the UFC was the Duraev stinker. As for McKee, man, it’s just not working out is it? Poor sod just can’t get that first UFC win for love nor money. You might recall he got fed to Khamzat in his debut in 2020. That didn’t go well. He then lost to Alex Morono and got released. He went away, went 3-0 in Cage Warriors and won their belt, returned to the UFC in September…and lost to Ange Loosa. It’s just not happening for him. He’s still only young, 28 years old, but it just seems like he’s destined to never quite get over that hump. This is a winnable fight for him but at this point who knows?

 

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Nate Landwehr vs Jamall Emmers is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Admittedly mostly because of Nate The Train but I’ve quite enjoyed what I’ve seen of Emmers as well. This was originally gonna be Landwehr against Pat Sabatini but that fell apart. I was hoping they’d slot Billy Quarantillo in against Landwehr when Quarantillo’s fight on the Apex card the week before fell through but they’ve gone this route instead. This will probably be a better actual fight to watch than Sabatini would’ve been anyway, to be honest. Landwehr’s must see TV. Win or lose, he always goes for it. I can’t remember a dull moment from him since he signed with the UFC. Mad little bastard. He’s had some wild fights, the highlight for me being his barmy scrap with David Onama in 2022. If you never saw it, it’s well worth firing Fight Pass up for. He’s coming off a decision loss to Dan Ige here. Emmers is 20-7 and has been alternating wins and losses for a while now. He’s one of those fighters who has a patchy record but you watch him and think he should’ve done better. He actually beat Cory Sandhagen on a LFA card in 2017 and also took Giga Chikadze to a split decision in the UFC in 2020. His last fight was probably the highlight of his career so far. He got his first UFC finish, in just 49 seconds, at MSG, and stopped Dennis Buzukja in his own backyard. He’ll be flying coming off that win, perfect timing for a fun fight with Nate. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if this steals the show.

 

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Virna Jandiroba vs Loopy Godinez is a fight that has real potential if they both decide to play to their strengths and grapple. Jandiroba’s BJJ is some of the best to watch in the women’s game and Loopy’s shown herself to be a handful in the wrestling department. You know how it goes with these types of fights though, it could just as easily end up being a case of their grappling styles cancelling each other out and they opt to have a subpar striking match instead. Hopefully not. Hopefully they both come in looking to prove themselves the better grappler. Jandiroba’s 35 now and coming off a couple of decision wins over Angela Hill and Marina Rodriguez. Loopy’s 30 and has won her last 4 fights. She beat Tabatha Ricci in her last fight on the MSG card in November. This is her chance to really climb the ladder, Jandiroba’s ranked #5 as I type this. Solid enough fight and I like both. Only negative is one has to lose.

 

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Julio Arce vs Herbert Burns then. Arce vs Burns. ARSE-BURNS! I don’t know whether this should be in the MMA section, the Eat Clean thread or the Shitting Thread. Arse Burns. Best fight booking since Bang vs Kuntz way back. In all seriousness, this could be a sleeper. Neither are making a splash in the rankings or going on a run at UFC gold but I think it should be an exciting fight. I’ve enjoyed watching Arce (behave yourself) in the fights I’ve seen. His win/loss record is all over the shop but his headkick KO against Julian Erosa was magnificent and he does have a win over Dan Ige back in 2018. As for Burns…

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That’s the last image we have of him. Big bro Gilbert had to carry him to the back after his TKO loss to Bill Algeo in July 2022. Not a good look. Burns got off to a good start in his career, he had a decent run in ONE and Titan FC, won on DWCS then scored first round finishes against Nate Landwehr and Evan Dunham in his first couple of UFC appearances. He then missed weight and got stopped by Daniel Pineda. Then came the Algeo loss. Both losses kind of played out similarly from what I recall. Burns seemed to just fold mentally when his initial grappling attacks didn’t lead to a submission. I’ve seen Gilbert Burns say before that Herbert is actually the stronger grappler of the two but Gilbert is the harder worker. That’s probably on the nose, to be fair. He seemed to fade rapidly in those losses when it started getting rough in there. This should be a fun fight while it lasts regardless. Burns is a fast starter and he’ll bring it early, just remains to be seen if Arce can weather the storm. I like Arce (stop it), I think he’s tough enough to get through that opening volley and I see him taking over after that. ARSE BURNS!

 

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Connor Matthews vs Dennis Buzukja. Not really sure. Never seen Matthews and I’ve seen limited footage of Buzukja. Matthews is making his UFC debut here. He’s 31 years old and 7-1 with 6 finishes. He won his fight on DWCS in October to get this opportunity, after previously losing on DWCS in his first attempt in 2022. Buzukja is looking for his first UFC win here. He’s 26 years old, 11-4 with 5 finishes and he’s a Ray Longo fighter out of New York. So he’s basically the home fighter here. I remember seeing a fair bit of positive reaction and buzz when he was signed but it’s been a disastrous run so far. He’s gone winless, 0-2 since signing with the UFC. Lost a decision to Sean Woodson in his debut in August, then got chinned in 49 seconds by Jamall Emmers in his last fight. In his own backyard at MSG of all places.

 

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Ibo Aslan vs Anton Turkalj 2. Yeah, it’s a rematch. Obviously I never knew that. I just found out by accident now looking through these guys records. Apparently they fought in August 2020 on a Brave CF card and Turkalj won via second round submission. I just watched it now, the full fight is on YouTube. Seemed like there was a bit of beef going in and Turkalj stood over Aslan screaming after the finish. Then actually headbutted the cage 🤣 Aslan was aggressive in the first round and landing some big shots, whereas Turkalj was just trying to clinch and contain him. Aslan won the first round clearly. Then in the second round, Aslan faded and Turkalj got the sub…

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That’s been Aslan’s only career loss. He’s Turkish, 27 years old and has a record of 12-1 with 12 knockouts. He’s won 4 fights since then, all first round knockouts. Turkalj won a couple of fights after that win over Aslan, including his DWCS win in July 2022. In the UFC though, he’s gone 0-3. He got subbed in a round by Jailton Almeida, went the distance with Vitor Petrino but lost on points, then got knocked out by Tyson Pedro in a round in his last fight. When I started this thread I gave zero fucks about this but, knowing they have history and having watched the first fight, I’m kind of looking forward to it now. I’m hoping Aslan avenges that loss here. Turkalj hasn’t been much cop in the UFC and Aslan could have some fun slugfests with the right opponents. Kind of funny that the Turk’s only loss is to a man named Turkalj though.

 

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Andre Petroski vs Jacob Malkoun isn’t doing a lot for me. Not a terrible fight, it’s just…there. Petroski is 10-2 and was on a nice little run of form until his last fight. He got steamrolled in a minute by Michel Pereira back in October. Before that he’d won 5 in a row including a points win over Gerald Meerschaert. Pereira really ran through him though. We’ll see how he bounces back here. Malkoun is from Australia and I think he’s a teammate of Robert Whittaker. He’s 7-3 and coming off a DQ loss to Cody Brundage in September. Memory’s vague on it but I think he had Brundage’s back and threw an elbow that hit the back of the head, Brundage couldn’t continue and that was that. Malkoun got disqualified. My only other real memory of Malkoun is when he got iced by Phil Hawes in 18 seconds. So yeah, not good.

 

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Angel Pacheco vs Caolan Loughran. Don’t know what to expect out of this really. This is Pacheco’s UFC debut, he’s 32 years old, 7-2 with all his wins coming inside the distance and is coming off a decision loss to Danny Silva on DWCS in September. Not sure why he’s got a UFC contract off a loss on DWCS but here we are. I never saw the fight, maybe it was a banger? It’s unusual a fighter gets in off a loss though so Pacheco must’ve impressed in some way. Loughran is making his second Octagon appearance. He’s Irish, 27 years old, 8-1 with 7 finishes and was the Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion. He ruffled some feathers in his UFC debut back in September. He went into Paris against France’s own Taylor Lapilus, and seemed determined to piss off the French at every opportunity. Proper heeling it up he was. The fight itself turned out to be a bit of a snoozer but, to be fair, I remember there being a bunch of pullouts and card changes going in and Loughran’s fight got patched together late in the day. Probably not the best fight to judge him on so we’ll see what he’s got here.

 

Pass the gabagool! 

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Edited by wandshogun09
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Had been thinking the whole time this was slumming it at the Apex, absolutely delighted to read it's not. This will do me just nice on Easter Sunday with a big bag of mini eggs.

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On 3/23/2024 at 2:05 PM, wandshogun09 said:

Nate Landwehr vs Jamall Emmers is ***WAND’S ONE TO WATCH*** here. Admittedly mostly because of Nate The Train but I’ve quite enjoyed what I’ve seen of Emmers as well. This was originally gonna be Landwehr against Pat Sabatini but that fell apart. I was hoping they’d slot Billy Quarantillo in against Landwehr when Quarantillo’s fight on the Apex card the week before fell through but they’ve gone this route instead. This will probably be a better actual fight to watch than Sabatini would’ve been anyway, to be honest. Landwehr’s must see TV. Win or lose, he always goes for it. I can’t remember a dull moment from him since he signed with the UFC. Mad little bastard

Nate the Train is back baby. Fantastic to see it's in front of a live crowd. It's always a spectacle when he shows up. That fight with Onana was something to behold. 

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On 3/24/2024 at 9:09 PM, WeeAl said:

Nate the Train is back baby. Fantastic to see it's in front of a live crowd. It's always a spectacle when he shows up. That fight with Onana was something to behold. 

Yep, you dont put Nate the Train in the Apex. What a maniac, great win.

Great win for Weidman too! I think if it was anyone else id be a bit more pissed off about the constant eye pokes, but Weidman needed this. He's gonna fight on and end up getting wrecked now though. The pokes were bad though, his fingers were extended the whole time.

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Proper slacking with my UFC viewing lately. Caught bits of this over the weekend but only just had chance to watch most of it.

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Fiorot vs Blanchfield was a real disappointment for me. Wasn’t like I was going in expecting a barnburner but it wasn’t as competitive as I’d hoped and Blanchfield pretty much shat the bed. I had Fiorot winning a shutout. I was favouring Blanchfield but it was one of those fights where, after it played out, it felt like such an obvious bad pick. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Fiorot was always gonna be the better striker but, despite Blanchfield’s grappling strengths, Fiorot’s size and physicality was enough to offset that. I just had it in my head that Blanchfield was gonna grind out a decision here but seeing them in the cage together, Fiorot just looked a whole weight class higher. It looked like a grown woman against a girl at times. At 24 years old, Blanchfield is the one who can afford a setback like this and I’m sure she’ll learn and improve from it. But she’s got a lot of work to do. And Fiorot, I don’t know. It still feels like we don’t know any more about her. And I don’t know if this is all she is or if there are extra gears she can tap into. Blanchfield didn’t force her to so we’re still none the wiser really. That’s what’s frustrating because it feels like there’s more there but she seems content to just do the bare minimum to secure the win and nothing more.

Like it or not though, Fiorot has to be next in line for a title shot. Regardless of what happens with Grasso vs Shevchenko 3. I don’t care what happens or how ‘controversial’ the decision is. I don’t wanna see them fight 4 times in a row. Give Fiorot the winner. Watch them go to another sodding draw now!

Buckley vs Luque just made me sad. Good win for Buckley but I just don’t feel like Luque should be in there after the brain haemorrhage. How’s he even passing the medical? I saw a few comments questioning why he ‘quit’ at the end, why he pulled guard and how maybe he doesn’t ’have it anymore’. Well, yeah, he had a bleed on the fucking brain. Gotta love MMA fans calling into question the courage and bravery of a pro fighter who’s getting in there after an injury like that. Even Felder going on about Luque not ‘seeming with it’, it’s like they’re all ignoring the elephant in the room and pretending they don’t know about Luque’s issues. I know he’s still young but I hope he decides to do something else. He’s got way too much life left to live to be fucking about after an injury like that.

I almost feel bad for Buckley as well because this was the biggest win of his career to date but there’s a cloud over it if you know about what Luque’s gone through. I did see Buckley was campaigning to get the headline spot on the upcoming St Louis card, he was saying they should move the current Black Beast vs Nascimento headliner down a spot and put him against someone on top. I’m all for that, to be honest. That Heavyweight fight is arse. With the right opponent, Buckley main eventing there in his hometown just feels like the most obvious choice in the world.

Gotta be honest, I found myself turning on Weidman here. Fair enough, eye pokes happen in MMA. It’s an occupational hazard, it goes with the territory unfortunately and Weidman was poked in the eye as well. It was one of them fights. He had his best performance in years overall but the way it ended really leaves a sour taste. The fight ending on an eye poke is bad enough. Them going to the scorecards and Weidman getting a decision that way was far from ideal. But if it was just that then whatever. I’d just be happy enough to see Weidman get a win after a solid showing. It’s been a while. But it’s how he’s gone on post-fight that’s put a negative spin on it for me. To be totally honest, I think he’s came across as a right cock. Talking about Silva “looking for a way out”, criticising him for “crying” and going to the ground anytime “his eyeball felt poked”. Meanwhile…

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A one-two combo of eye pokes! It was happening too much as well. Like @Egg Shen said, his hands were out and his fingers extended all the time, posting his arm in Silva’s face with the fingers out straight and shit. It was like it was a deliberate tactic. He actually said after “Any time his eyeball got touched at all, he’d drop to the ground and was crying he needed time”. Imagine poking someone in the eyes like that and then basically saying ‘every time I poked him in the eye he reacted in pain and complained. I don’t get it’. Yeah, no shit!

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I get that everyone felt sympathy for Weidman coming off that horrible injury but this was a terrible look for him. Especially when you know if the roles were reversed he’d be ‘crying’ to anyone who’d listen. And yeah, the worst thing is that now he’s gonna somehow look at this as evidence he’s got another run at the title in him. When really he’s probably just gonna be used as cannon fodder to build someone up.

Gonna sound like a big hypocrite here. I don’t care. Unlike the Weidman vs Silva thing, Ruziboev poking Sedriques Dumas in the eye then TKOing him didn’t upset me one bit. Because fuck him.

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Yeah. Fuck him. I’m more disappointed Ruziboev didn’t get a clean win than anything. Heard Dumas banging on about “running it back” after, wouldn’t be against seeing Ruziboev chin him properly. We’ll see. I get the feeling this matchup was designed for Ruziboev to get an easy win so the matchmakers might just move him onto better things now. Ruzi denying the eye poke was bullshit though, and calling out our Gerald was a heel move. But for now, he caused a woman beater physical pain and a loss so he’s alright by me.

Kyle Nelson vs Bill Algeo was an exciting one rounder. Nelson was like a man possessed, got Algeo hurt early and never gave him the opportunity to recover.

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There was booing at the stoppage, Felder said he would’ve liked to see the ref let it go a bit longer and I’ve seen some negative reaction saying it was an early stoppage. I didn’t have a problem with it myself. The ref could’ve let it go a bit and Algeo was clearly still wanting to fight. But he was rocked and getting tagged repeatedly, with not much in the way of defence or offence from him and his legs were all over the shop. I feel like if Algeo went down at any point, the ‘early stoppage’ talk wouldn’t even be a thing. This logic that just because a fighter is still on their feet it should be allowed to continue no matter what is shite. The ref let him take a fair few flush digs before stepping in. Wasn’t like he lunged in on the first solid connection.

The Chidi Njokuani vs Rhys McKee fight kind of lost me, to be honest. Had it on in the background while doing other things but it never really grabbed my attention. Sucks for McKee but I was happy to see Chidi get back to winning ways.

Once again, like pretty much every card he appears on, Nate The Train stole the show in my opinion. Love the mad bastard.

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“WHOOP MY ASS AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS!!”

“I’m in here feelin’ like a young Jean Claude Van…DAMN!!” - Nate Landwehr

🤣

Never a dull moment. This was about as fun as a one round fight gets. Emmers came out looking sharp and from the initial exchanges I thought Nate might be in trouble. But like he said, Emmers was whooping his ass…then we all saw what happened. Nate just loves a dogfight and it genuinely seems like once he gets tagged a few times and tastes his own blood, that’s when he feels most comfortable in there. Obviously not ideal and he’s got a bunch of flaws and won’t go very high. Just make the most of him while he’s around.

Nate was interviewed on Bisping’s podcast since Saturday night. If you haven’t seen this, I’d recommend it…

I’m at the point these days where I actively avoid a lot of fighter interviews, media and press conferences. It’s a shame really because I used to be balls deep in that stuff and it really added to my enjoyment and the experience of being a fan. But I find it’s better to mostly swerve that cesspool these days. Nate is one of the few fighters I make a point of watching interviews though. Entertaining in and out of the cage. I love the fact that he’s such a wildman in the cage and then he’s there on Bisping’s podcast talking about gardening and how he needs to get back to growing his potatoes and stuff. What a character.

The Virna Jandiroba vs Loopy Godinez fight wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it’d be. Loopy just couldn’t really get much going but Jandiroba couldn’t do much more than just edge out rounds on control. Loopy was good enough in the grappling to not get subbed but not quite good enough to stay out of bad positions. And Jandiroba was able to do just enough of that to secure the decision. Saw some moaning from the grappling hating section of the fanbase with the tired ‘Loopy should’ve won! All Jandiroba did was hold’ bollocks. But what did Loopy do to win really? It was a competitive fight, with a lot of grappling. And Jandiroba edged the grappling. Tough shit. This was always gonna be bittersweet for me. Happy Jandiroba won, sad Loopy lost.

Julio Arce put a beating on the shite Burns brother. Shame Arce put a cloud over this performance by missing weight but I was happy to see him win. Done with Burns, to be honest. Thought he looked terrible here. It could partly be chalked up to the layoff but he’s had odd showings like this before. All he contributed to this fight were groin strikes. Arce made him pay for that in the second round…

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ARSE BURNS! 

Seriously, I’m not qualified to call a pro fighter a quitter and I generally hate that kind of talk. But Burns really doesn’t seem to be cut out for MMA. He just doesn't seem to have the toughness or the stomach for it. It’s happened in more than one fight now but whenever a fight isn’t going easy for him, he seems to gas out rapidly. And I’m not even sure it’s strictly a cardio thing. It appears like he just mentally crumbles when it starts getting difficult or he can’t just force his grappling to work. It’s like every time a takedown attempt goes nowhere, his energy bar depletes by another 20% or something. He’ll probably get another shot just because of the circumstances here - coming off a layoff, Arce missing weight - but I’ve seen enough at this point. Gilbert definitely got all the MMA genes in the Burns family.

Nice to see Dennis Buzukja finally get that first elusive UFC win. Not sure how to rate the performance because I’m unfamiliar with Connor Matthews but he pretty much dominated then got the late finish. Don’t see him going very far but maybe he can build off this win now that shitty 0-2 start is in the rear view.

The Aslan vs Turkalj rematch turned out to be a fun, sloppy slobberknocker. Wasn’t pretty but at least it wasn’t boring. Was happy to see Aslan avenge that lone loss. In watching their first fight, Turkalj was acting a bit of a cock standing over Aslan and screaming at him after the submission. Plus Turkalj has been a total jobber in the UFC so I was always gonna root for the new blood here. These two were pretty much at a crossroads in a way. Turkalj was 0-3 in the UFC, Aslan was 12-1 overall with the only loss being against Turkalj the first time. So either Aslan was gonna get revenge, or Turkalj was gonna get his first Octagon win. Turned out Turkalj can’t even win in the UFC when he’s getting a re-run against someone he’s already beaten!

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Have it. I’ll admit, in real time I thought the stoppage was slightly premature. Watching the finish back though, and looking at the replays, I think the ref just saved Turkalj from further unnecessary punishment. He was on his arse, hands stretched out behind his back, face wide open and then after the stoppage he was asking the ref what happened. Like Felder said, he was “a sitting duck”. Turkalj was heading down a one way street into unconsciousness there if Aslan was allowed to follow up. Fun scrap. They got FOTN, not that they had a lot of competition on this card. Looking forward to seeing Aslan again though. His style is ugly but he’ll liven up a few undercards.

Malkoun vs Petroski was yet another unusual ending on a card full of them. In all the years I’ve been watching this shit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a fighter basically TKO themselves by shooting head first into the opponent’s hip bone!

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Of course, Malkoun following up by penalty kicking his ribcage in wouldn’t have helped but look at the damage he did twatting his bonce off the hip…

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Fuck me. There was a load of confusion in real time about what actually caused Petroski to go down initially but Felder, as usual, was on it. Obviously that pic of his head after confirmed it. The kick to the body is probably what’s still haunting him nearly a week after the fact though. Nasty stuff. Not sure why the crowd were booing Malkoun. He did absolutely nothing wrong.

Caolan Loughran had a much better showing than in his debut. I think I mentioned in the opening post though, he got fucked about going into that one and his fight got switched up and thrown together last minute. This was a better fight to watch and a better performance from Loughran himself. Bad first night in for Pacheco. Loughran called out Raul Rosas Jr after the fight, said he “felt like a dickhead” for calling out an 18 year old but I wouldn’t mind seeing it, to be fair. He mentioned the Manchester card, the McGregor vs Chandler undercard (if that one ever happens) or the card at the Sphere for Mexican Independence Day. Any of them would work.

 

Funny old card. Had some fun moments but a lot of weird shit as well. These Fight Night main events really haven’t been up to much so far this year though, have they? 

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That Petroski cut in mental, it didn't look like much when it happened, the reaction to it was pretty scary though. I do like Jacob Malkoun though, having a weird run but I like the guy.

Rhys McKee is the UK's version Jay Hieron. There's a throwback for you.

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